The Australian Parliament is advocating for the return of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to his home country, opposing his extradition to the US

by | Feb 15, 2024

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed on Thursday his desire for a peaceful resolution to the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, following increased pressure from lawmakers urging the United States and Britain to permit the Australian citizen to return to his homeland.

Albanese addressed Parliament, emphasizing the significance of the upcoming appeal hearing in London's High Court next week, regarding Assange's extradition to the US on espionage charges. He described the period leading up to the hearing as “critical” and expressed hope for a resolution.

While acknowledging that Australia should not interfere in other countries' legal processes, Albanese stressed the importance of ensuring a conclusive resolution to the matter.

Albanese emphasized that despite individuals' stances, this situation cannot persist endlessly.

Assange is set to appear for a two-day hearing starting Tuesday in the High Court to determine if he should be granted a full appeal to contest his extradition. In the event of an unfavorable outcome, he will have exhausted all legal avenues in England, raising concerns among his supporters that he might be promptly extradited to the US before he can seek appeal with the European Court of Human Rights.

Albanese commended independent lawmaker Andrew Wilkie for presenting a motion in favor of Assange in the House of Representatives on Wednesday prior to the appeal.

Alongside 86 lawmakers, Albanese voted in support of the motion urging the United States and Britain to resolve the matter swiftly, allowing Mr. Assange to reunite with his family in Australia.

The motion faced opposition from 42 lawmakers, including the majority of the main opposition party, which proposed unsuccessful amendments. Both government and opposition leaders have publicly acknowledged that the US's pursuit of the 52-year-old has endured for far too long.

Assange is confronted with 17 counts of espionage and one count of computer misuse stemming from WikiLeaks' release of numerous classified diplomatic and military documents over a decade ago. US prosecutors claim he aided US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in pilfering classified diplomatic cables and military files, which WikiLeaks subsequently published, endangering lives.

Australia contends that there is a disparity in the treatment of Assange and Manning by the US. Former US President Barack Obama commuted Manning's 35-year sentence to seven years, facilitating her release in 2017.

Source: AP News



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Julian Assange extradition appeal to be heard next month

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Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, will have his appeal against extradition to the United States heard next month, according to court officials in London. Assange, an Australian citizen aged 52, is contesting extradition to the U.S., where he faces 18 charges...